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Arsenal vs. Vitoria - Europa League Predicted Starting XI

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Do we dare say the word.... Ozil?

Arsenal FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Unai Emery is nothing if not consistent. Even with the international break and plenty of potential starts appearing fully fit, he was hesitant to rotate (again). But even so, knowing his preference for players he feels like he can trust (regardless of results), we got 8 of the 11 right in Monday’s predicted starting XI.

Given that Arsenal have three matches in seven days we should see heavy rotation here. And it shows, with nine new starters rolling into the predicted starting XI against Vitoria in the Europa League. Arsenal are currently on six points from two matches and are hosting the last place team in the group. Vitoria has yet to score in the Europa League this year, which presents a wonderful opportunity for Emery’s men to regain confidence heading into this weekend’s London derby.

Check out the gallery below for the predicted starting XI.

Notes on the XI

  • Alexandre Lacazette returned to action on Monday, but I expect Emery to hold the striker back on the bench once again in preparation for a start against Crystal Palace. Gabriel Martinelli has proven an effective option in the Europa League thus far and deserves the start.
  • Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe are the two starters keeping their spots. Both were subbed out on Monday, Reiss Nelson is out injured, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should be saved for the Premier League. Plus I don’t expect Emery to opt for U23 players just yet. Once Arsenal have secured first place in the group, then I think we see the likes of Emile Smith Rowe, Folarin Balogun, Robbie Burton, etc. get a shot.
  • I’ve been burned by this pick before, and I’m walking back into it just like Charlie Brown. Mesut Ozil will start. It’s at home, against a team Arsenal should easily handle, he is fit and the team is crying out for his specific skills.
  • Fans should be excited to see the potential combination of Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin and Lucas Torriera back in the Arsenal lineup. Tierney and Bellerin are guaranteed starters for the primary matches once the staff feel like they are up to full fitness.
  • Monday’s malaise opens the door for several of these players to push back into the starting XI for Premier League matches. Or at least one would assume. Unai Emery is getting a ton of heat from fans. If players such as Holding, Torriera and Ozil have a strong match on Thursday, they should be considered not only for the Palace match, but the upcoming Liverpool Cup tie as well.

Bench

  1. Bernd Leno
  2. David Luiz
  3. Ainsley Maitland-Niles
  4. Sead Kolasinac
  5. Joe Willock
  6. Emile Smith Rowe
  7. Alexandre Lacazette

This leaves out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Granit Xhaka, Mattéo Guendouzi, Sokratis, and Calum Chambers, all who will likely featuring in the starting XI or at minimum the 18 this coming weekend against Crystal Palace.

How to watch

Thursday (10/24) at 3:00 pm ET / 12:00 pm PT on B/R Live..